Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-qsmjn Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-17T03:45:42.777Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Part III - Modern human origins: patterns and processes

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2012

Sally C. Reynolds
Affiliation:
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Andrew Gallagher
Affiliation:
University of Johannesburg
Get access

Summary

Abstract

It is generally accepted that archaic humans of the African later Early and early Middle Pleistocene constituted the source population for anatomically modern humans. Due to limited fossil and archaeological records, however, relatively little is known about the morphology, behaviour and ecology of these presumed ancestors of modern humans. Fragmentary fossils (variously attributed to Homo heidelbergensis, H. rhodesiensis and H. helmei) from across Africa suggest that these archaic humans were both taller and more massive than their extant modern human descendants in this region, and perhaps had a body shape that was stockier and less ‘nilotic’ than seen among extant sub-Saharan Africans. Fragmentary fossils attributed to Homo sapiens, on the other hand, appear to represent individuals closer in body size to the means of recent sub-Saharan Africans. Since body size and shape are critical to the ecology, energetics and thermoregulatory adaptations of early humans, these differences in morphology may signal important adaptive changes at the time of the origins of modern humans. Comparative analyses of femoral and orbital dimensions support the claim that Middle Pleistocene Africans were of greater body size (both stature and mass) and had greater mass/stature ratios than modern Africans, and support the claim that early African H. sapiens were of smaller body size than their Middle Pleistocene ancestors.

Type
Chapter
Information
African Genesis
Perspectives on Hominin Evolution
, pp. 317 - 448
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×